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    Survey: More Discount Shoppers Buy Convenience Food Away from Supermarket

    BALTIMORE - A growing number of discount store shoppers are purchasing both over-the-counter drugs and convenience grocery products at discount stores, according to a survey released by Vertis, a provider of technology-based integrated marketing services.

    BALTIMORE - A growing number of discount store shoppers are purchasing both over-the-counter drugs and convenience grocery products at discount stores, according to a survey released by Vertis, a provider of technology-based integrated marketing services.

    The Customer Focus 2002: Retail survey found that 20 percent of discount shoppers surveyed said they have purchased products such as milk, snacks and canned goods at a discount store instead of the traditional grocery store in the past two weeks. This number has increased from 11 percent in 1998, taking a large portion of the market share from both grocery and convenience stores, according to Vertis.

    In addition, 31 percent of shoppers confirmed that in the last 30 days they had most often visited a discount store to purchase over-the-counter drugs, vs. 44 percent who visited drug stores. Since 1998 this number has increased by 27 percent.

    The survey also found that discount stores are especially popular places for consumers to purchase housewares and small appliances. In fact, 66 percent of the total number of adults surveyed said they most often shop at a discount store to purchase these items, compared to just 20 percent who purchase the same items at a department store.

    Advertising inserts continue to be a popular source of retail information for discount consumers, with 86 percent of adults saying they read inserts. The report found that a high percentage of shoppers use advertising inserts to decide on where to shop, particularly for home electronics (54 percent), housewares/small appliances (53 percent), and clothing (52 percent).

    The top factors discount shoppers said they are looking for besides price are quick checkout and large selection. Least important is in-store computer assistance, ability to shop the store's Web site, and in-store demonstrations.

    Customer Focus, commissioned by Vertis, is a biannual survey tracking consumer behavior across a wide variety of retail settings including grocery, department and discount stores, the Internet, and specialty retailers. The survey was first conducted in 1998.

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